Upstanders

We all know about victims, perpetrators, rescuers and bystanders. But what is an UPSTANDER?

Upstander is a word that has just recently been used to identify people who are willing to stand up and take action in defense of others. It can refer to individuals who take large risks during wars and political turmoil, and it also identifies people who take small but helpful steps to shield others from bullying and other injustices.

The Holocaust Center is asking local students (and adults, too!) to take the pledge:

• I will STAND UP to bullying
• I won’t be a bully
• I won’t let anyone bully me
• I won’t let anyone bully someone else
• I have a responsibility to STOP BULLYING in my school and in my community

The UpStander:Stand Up To Bullying initiative began in 2009 with meetings with Orange County Public Schools. We all recognized that bullying in its many forms was an increasing problem for area youth, and that the most effective strategy — using “peer pressure” from bystanders — was not part of current interventions.

UpStanders: Stand Up To Bullying uses the history and lessons of the Holocaust, in particular the stories of Rescuers or Righteous Gentiles, to inspire students to become UpStanders rather than bystanders. The goal is to make the community one in which diversity is celebrated and everyone feels respected and safe. Rescuer behavior during the Holocaust is used to teach students the importance of guarding the rights and safety of others. It is a five part initiative that is presented to middle school students over a two school year period.

In the UpStanders program, students learn how and when to intervene safely when they witness bullying. It is based on solid research that tells us that the single most effective intervention to interrupt bullying behavior is for bystanders to step in and step up for other students.

The program launched in the 2010 school year with 10 Orange County Middle Schools. It quickly expanded to Osceola and Seminole Counties, with other UpStander projects in Brevard and Marion Counties and most recently has begun to offer programming in private schools. It has hosted regional summit meetings involving schools, law enforcement, child- and family-centered nonprofits, and libraries.

The number of participating schools and the number of local partnerships continues to grow. A recent video describes one of these successful collaborations.

We have several quick resource guides you can download here, with useful information about what to do if you are bullied, if you witness bullying in school, or want quick tips to share with friends.

The Holocaust Memorial Resource and Education Center of Florida · 851 N Maitland Ave · Maitland, FL 32751 · Phone: 407-628-0555 · info@holocaustedu.org